Two Lock Lane stars and two players from Featherstone Lions played their part as the BARLA Lions team got their Fiji tour off to a winning start.
The tourists were up against a West Fiji team in Nadi and came from behind to claim a 22-20 victory.
Lock Lane back row forward Luke Tagg and Lions hooker Dean Gamble were both in the starting line-up with Lane’s Craig Savage and Ian Jackson, from the Featherstone team, coming off the bench.
The game kicked off in a 30 degrees temperature with humidity also an issue. It was testing for everyone, but the side stuck to their guns and emerged victorious thanks to a try five minutes from the end by York Acorn’s Reece Rushworth.
The Lions made the best possible start after just three minutes when the ball came down the right and Mark Tyson (Askam) got around his man to score. Skipper for the day Andy Hullock (Hunslet Club Parkside) missed the conversion.
West Fiji roared into action and made the most of a handling error when winger Veresa Tuqovu swept up and blazed 55 metres to the other end.
They struck again when a powerful run from big Luke Narara saw him cross the line with a couple of players hanging off him. Jona Varomusu goaled to hand West a six point lead.
After a drinks break the Lions hit back as Tyson crossed for his second try after intercepting 40 metres out. Jamie Fields goaled, but the hosts scored again through Esira Dokini with Josateki Savou cinverting to make it 16-10 at the interval.
Half-back Nasoni Naseru was sin-binned early in the second half for persistent offences and almost immediately BARLA attacked as Thatto Heath man Jack Jones popped the ball out at the right time and Lock Lane’s Tagg touched down with Fields’ goal levelling the score.
Both teams had chances before Rushworth finished the vital play five minutes from time and Fields added his third goal nudge the Lions ahead.
Despite late efforts from the Fiji team, BARLA claimed the game by the narrowest of margins.
BARLA Lions now play three more matches on their tour, against Australian Affiliated States then Fiji Bati reserves twice before flying back to England on November 25.